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The Things I Find In and Around Dumpsters

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): The Things I Find In and Around Dumpsters

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Things I Find In and Around Dumpsters

Okay, so I haven't seen many dumpsters in residential areas lately. We've lived off post the last...I would say....six years, so maybe I've forgotten. But you won't believe what I've found sitting in and around our dumpster the last few months.

Granted, I see trashbags that somehow missed the dumpster. Actually, we have two side-by-side and a big wooden fence around the area, along with our big recycling bins...we are in Germany, which is recycling heaven. Anyway, at any give time, usually closer to trash pick-up time, I'd see one dumpster, filled to the gills and overflowing...and the other...almost empty. I FINALLY figured it out, and it took me almost a month. People were winging their bags over the fence and hoping it would hit the dumpster. Since they couldn't see...they didn't care...or so it seems. I also see they didn't care about other things from the perfectly good things I would find around there. It's not like we don't have a thrift shop around here...we also have the German Red Cross store and a few other places items can be dropped off..maybe that's the key...dropped off...too much effort.

I've seen

  • a very nice leather recliner that still worked (I tried it out). I was really hoping though, as I sat in it, that their dog or cat didn't just pee all over it.
  • An antique wooden table that was very stable and very useable....but okay, it was a bit butt ugly if you don't like that heavy stuff.
  • A fairly new Pottery Barn Amoire in a beautiful whitewashed color with only a scratch on the back of it.
  • Nice wood picture frames.
  • A newer toddler's toy, like a plastic table with all these gadgets, whirlys and things that make noise and light up....and it was still working and looked to be in excellent condition.
  • Numerous dining and kitchen chairs that looked sturdy.
  • A nice wooden baby changing table.
  • A diaper bin...okay, I'd throw that away too.
  • An iron wine rack.
  • Bin of four cubbyholes in colorful primary colors.
  • A perfectly good men's mountain just needed new tires.
  • Four weather-beaten wire egg baskets...guess they gave up the collection?
And those are just the things that came to mind. I did drag a few of the items into our storage room in the basement. Our FRG is going to be participating in a community flea market next weekend. We actually made $200 the last time with very little effort. Next time, we hope to work our way into the food arena. There's some kind of German charity organization that was invited in to do a fish fry...what do Germans know about fish frys?!

What kinds of things do you find in and around your local trash?



Blogger Tiffany said...

We don't really have dumpsters here in Hawaii, at least not in my neighborhood. But, the schools have big recycling bins where you can bring paper, plastic and glass. (The schools get $$ for the full bins.) I HATE seeing lazy people bring their trash there, when it very clearly states that it's recycling only. People leave their junk next to the bins, which leaves the school with a dirty, ugly feel. Terrible!!

I do remember being in Germany and seeing nice things near the trash. They used to have days they called "junking" days, where you'd put all the stuff you didn't want at the curb and people would drive through your neighborhood and take what they wanted. I miss that!!!

November 6, 2008 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Im originaly from Sheboygan, WI which is always been thought of as a little germany. We do Oktoberfest and all..which was recently a location for the shooting of a Food Network program. Our town does alot of fish fry's. I dont really know the origin of fish fry's but growing up we were always told its a german and chips.

And dumpster diving is a good way to get things for free! We have regulars do drive throughs the night before the garbage men come. My friend is always checking out what people are throwing out. She's gotten some cool toys for her kid as well as furniture pieces that just needed a little tlc. My computer chair was in someones trash. Was in good condition minus some stains on the fabric which are hidden behind the blanket I put on it. I usualy like to donate what is usable to the goodwill. My friend drops her items off at the airmans attic on base.

Im definately looking forward to possibly coming across some nice wood pieces when we get to Germany though.

November 6, 2008 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Ah okay...maybe fish frys are a Northern Germany thing...where all the fish are.

Believe it or more junking days over here. Now people have gotten wise to flea markets...every little town has one, and on a regular basis most people cart their stuff there to get rid of, or they call the German Red Cross store, which has free pick up...gone are the good old days of finding nice antique furniture at the curb!

November 6, 2008 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

We don't see much around here, but it IS stateside, and we DO live off post. That said, when the neighbors move out, they leave a lot behind on the curb for trash pick-up. I got a hummingbird feeder from one neighbor...and another left a really nice vacuum (I didn't take that, I already have 2!).

When we were in Germany though, it was different. I saw beds...the European "twin" sized...complete with linens still on...I pulled the linens back and the mattress was in EXCELLENT condition. I'm guessing because it was a euro size, they just canned it....sheesh! I got my son a "rock and ride tricycle" (made by fisher price) left by a dumpster. And there was this great looking red wagon I was going to snag, but the neighborhood hoodlums took it into the playground and smashed it to smithereens (it was a HARD plastic), thereby rendering the entire playground a hazard because of all the shards of plastic. Took WEEKS to clean up.

I've seen full houses of furniture just left by the dumpsters. Sure, some of the stuff was GARBAGE, but a lot got snagged. Hey, I got a JOGGING stroller too...almost forgot THAT one!

But here in the states, I'm freecycling as much as I can so I don't have to see the "curbside pickers" go at it.

November 7, 2008 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger dyceedo said...

oh, I so miss my "junking" days in Germany! My garage is still full of the fabulous free finds that I still intend on refinishing. My daughter is sleeping in the most adorable bed that I refinished - found it on the side of the road in Germany. Fun!
As for the on-post used to make me crazy. The totally overflowing dumpster, sitting next to the empty made me wonder what the Germans thought about us. Lazy, lazy, lazy...

November 8, 2008 at 2:39 AM  
Blogger Krista said...

Mk I stand corrected. My husband tells me Fish and chips is an English thing. It originated in the British Isle. And the Irish did it because all they had for food was fish and potatos. So I guess I have some correcting to do when I go home haha.

November 9, 2008 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger D2M said...

One of the things that really bugs me about being in Misawa is I seem perpetually stuck next to people who don't know how to use the trash area. (I never had this problem on base in the States) See, two duplexes share one trash area. Everything has to be bagged, and the trash cans must have their lids on at all times. (We don't have dumpsters, I wish we did..) The reason being that the crows--the scavengers of Japan--will eat and tear apart anything they can get their grubby claws on. They'll drag trash every where.

But do my neighbors have the sense to do this? Oh no... they'll over stuff cans even when empty ones are available... they won't bag things... I once had to call housing because someone had not properly bagged their used baby diapers and they were now littering the garbage area. GROSS!

And heaven forbid anyone recycles. And if they do they keep putting things in the wrong bins. (Yellow for paper, Blue for everything else! It's so easy!)

We also have something akin to dumpster diving here. Only it's more like yard diving since anything that can't fit into a bag ends up near the streets for the garbage guys to pick up. You can find furniture, toys, beds, giant TVs, etc... just sittin' there waiting to get trashed.

But I think most people prefer to sell their stuff at yard sales or MisawaYardSale (yahoo group) or do freecycling. We're a small community so there's always someone who needs something. :)

March 27, 2009 at 8:01 AM  

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